Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Fantastic Final French Four

As I write, Nadal is cruising through against Soderling, Murray is coming through after an early wobble against Chela (and apparently some later wobbles) and Djokovic/Federer are preparing themselves for another massive Grand Slam clash on Friday

Everything points to a 5th final of the year between Nadal and Djokovic

Murray has had a patchy couple of rounds, ankle injury or not (and judging by his movement in latter sets against VT and now against JIC, I'd say there's not too much wrong), and although seems able to battle through against the likes of Troicki and Chela, coming up against a good player for the first time in the tournament may come as a bit of a shock. 
Someone like Nadal doesn't let you back in from a double break down, especially not twice in a match! The players he's played to get to the semi have an average ranking of 79. Federer's opponents average 55, Djokovic's 42, Nadal's 71. But haven't we seen this before? At the Aussie Djokovic had a significantly harder run to the final but crushed Murray. Then again, we didn't know at the time that Novak would go on such an absurd sequence of victories.

Murray and Nadal have played 3 times on clay and unsurprisingly it's 3-0 Nadal. Given Murray's record for not exactly excelling on the biggest stage, and Rafa's utter dominance at RG, I just don't see how Andy can get past him.

The potentially more competitive and interesting semi match up from these big 4 could be Djokovic Federer. Roger leads the clay head-to-head 2-1 but one victory was by retirement and the other was when Novak was only 18. Federer hasn't lost a set yet this year, but nor has he been entirely convincing at stages, especially against Wawrinka and Monfils. Djokovic's only set lost was to Del Potro who was back to his best for a while during that match. 

Federer has been so attacking during this year's FO, going for his forehand very early in the rally and targetting the corners. Players like Monfils can stay with that for a while but not long enough to increase the chances of a shank. Djokovic and Nadal though have such a level of defence that Federer has to hit a fiercely accurate winner 3 or 4 times before he actually gets the point. As a result, he misses them, then tries to make the winners even better and closer to the lines, misses more and ends up not really making a fist of the match. That's how it's happened in the last two Slams. This is the unforced error count for each: 

Aussie Open Semi '11: Federer 44 Djokovic 35
US Open Semi '10: Federer 66 Djokovic 38

Can't help but feel this may well be the pattern of it on Friday too. I looked in detail at their GS Semi match ups during the Aussie Open and we all know what happened then. I'd love to see Roger perform as he can, if he does it could achieve the potential it has to be a classic.

*if something dramatic happens and either Murray or Nadal lose their quarters, I can't be held responsible!

No comments:

Post a Comment